Xiaomi Mi 4 Flagship Reveal - July 22nd

#1 Edited by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

Xiaomi has launched a teaser site for the July 22nd reveal of their latest flagship smartphone, the Mi 4.

The Mi 4 is said to have a metal body and a 5.2" display. Like previous Xiaomi flagships, a $300~$350 USD price tag is expected. The Mi 4 should also offer 4G LTE, something the Mi 3 was missing (this was due to the availability on the Chinese market).

SoC? I would assume the Snapdragon 805 or NVIDIA's Tegra K1. There is also the possibility Xiaomi will give the option of either of them, this was the case with the Mi 3 which launched with Tegra 4 or Snapdragon 800 AB.

The Xiaomi Mi Pad which has just launched in China for $240 USD is using NVIDIA's Tegra K1.

Supposed leaked images of the Mi 4's body and this bezel design (as always, take with a grain of salt):

#2 Posted by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

I get less and less impressed by phones such as this one when I hear more and more about the new iPhone.

#3 Posted by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

I get less and less impressed by phones such as this one when I hear more and more about the new iPhone.

Such as? I find it hard to ignore the fact this device will sell for around half the price of most flagship devices (iPhone included).

#4 Posted by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

@NVIDIATI said:

@musicalmac said:

I get less and less impressed by phones such as this one when I hear more and more about the new iPhone.

Such as? I find it hard to ignore the fact this device will sell for around half the price of most flagship devices (iPhone included).

Things like TouchID, Metal, sapphire crystal, and the A8 rumors all paint a picture of a device that stands out from what we've had since this all began. Not to mention how much more polished the experience on iOS is in comparison to android.

#5 Posted by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

Things like TouchID, Metal, sapphire crystal, and the A8 rumors all paint a picture of a device that stands out from what we've had since this all began. Not to mention how much more polished the experience on iOS is in comparison to android.

I don't see TouchID as a necessity, especially in a device that doesn't even have NFC for mobile payment.

Sapphire crystal could be a nice change, at least to keep the display from getting scuffed up. That's not to say current and future Gorilla Glass displays will not suffice.

Metal is just another low level API. Apple wants to fragment iOS from OpenGL and other systems. The upcoming OpenGL 5.0 and DX12 are already low level API's, so it doesn't seem to solve anything. Google's approach with the AEP reduces fragmentation and allows GLES 3.1 to use extensions of OpenGL 4.x and other advanced features such as tessellation.

Android L is a major change for Google, larger than any release before it. The change from Dalvik to ART is already a huge deal in boosting performance and efficiency, but it doesn't end there.

The A8 will be an interesting SoC (20nm, PowerVR 6 XT GPU), but it's not without 2014 rivals [mobile: Tegra K1 (32-bit and 64-bit), tablet: Intel Cherry Trail (14 nm), Intel Core M (14 nm Broadwell-Y)].

#6 Edited by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

@NVIDIATI: Apple is opening up the best mobile security technology ever conceived for small, personal consumer devices to developers this fall with iOS8. It's also rumored that the new iPhone may include NFC, but I'm not positive on that. To think that it's not necessary just because the iPhone currently doesn't have NFC seems silly to me. The other thing that seems silly to me is that NFC payments are approved through other, less reliable and less secure means on other handsets.

The phrase, "That's not to say current and future Gorilla Glass displays will not suffice," is like saying, "It may be better, but what we have is good enough so progress and innovation aren't really that important."

Metal is a low level API developed by Apple for maybe 4 hardware configurations (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5/5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6). Is there another low level API that even comes close to that level of optimization or specificity? I truly cannot think of one.

Android L is Google playing more catch up with iOS. All the stuff Apple did right, Google did backwards. Flood the masses with an OS that can do more, but it's less secure, less optimized, less unified, poorer quality applications, the list goes on. Android L is more catch-up.

All the best stuff is already available. I can't take seriously a position formulated from potential. Time to deliver.

Side note -- I saw my first person pay with their phone via NFC. I glanced at the right time (accidentally) to see their passcode. It's a whole lot easier to memorize a sequence of numbers or a password than it is to manufacture an identical fingerprint to fool TouchID.

EDIT: Added extra words for clarity (regarding personal hardware)

#7 Posted by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

@musicalmac

I said "especially in a device...", I just don't think it's necessary. As for seeing someone's passcode, NFC has been built into credit cards (Visa, Mastercard) and comes in some debit cards. None of which require you to enter a passcode, just simply touch your card to the sensor. This system has been in place for years and has not suffered from a serious security outbreak. I think NFC would be a great addition to the iPhone 6.

That's a poor interpretation of my wording. We've yet to see the performance of a consumer device using an Apple made sapphire display, and unless Apple has worked their magic, the cost for Gorilla Glass is considerably lower than sapphire.

On a large phone display, the difference in cost is even higher; last year, GT Advanced reps estimated the cost for a pane of Gorilla Glass at $3, while sapphire was around $30.

Credit Engadget

To my knowledge, Metal will not work on any device using an SoC older than Apple's A7. None of them even support OpenGL ES 3.0, the current mobile industry standard (something Android had support for long before iOS did). Despite consoles using their own low level API's we've yet to see them exceed what's possible with current higher level API's on PC with multiple hardware varients. Again, OpenGL 5.0 is a low level API, and so is DirectX 12.

Android L is not playing catch-up. A unified design across mobile, TV, Car and wearable is not something Apple has done. Support for ARM, ARM64, x86, x86-64, MIPS, MIPS64 is not something Apple has done. The AEP focuses on extending OpenGL 4.x to OpenGL ES 3.1, something Apple hasn't done. Optimizations to performance and battery life are on-going for both operating systems. To apply your double standard, iOS 7 and iOS 8 have both added a number of key features that's been around on Android for years. For someone who claimed to have watched Google I/O, I shouldn't have to explain this to you.

You just mentioned Apple's A8, then when I talk about hardware, some of which is already on the market (Tegra K1 32-bit), you say you can't take potential seriously. I'm not always interested in talking about what's already on the market, I assume many are already aware. As for the time to deliver, many devices (Bay Trail Windows tablets, Tegra K1, etc.) have already delivered.

#8 Posted by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

@NVIDIATI: Heh, no need to be so spicy.

Nothing windows has made a broad reaching impact in the post PC era, so I have little faith in devices of that nature running that operating system. Especially after Apple's announcement with IBM in the enterprise space.

It's ilkely Metal will only work with A7 and up, which actually strengthens my position regarding how well optimized and tied together the API will be with the hardware. It's going to be unlike something we've seen before. OpenGL 5.0 hasn't been developed with only two hardware configurations in mind. Let's be reasonable.

Android L is attempting to unify a very disjointed market, and unification is exactly where Apple started. That doesn't mean the same design across every potential platform, and that's a problem Microsoft is stumbling through right now and a problem Google wasn't smart enough to recognize and will likely struggle through it themselves next. The addition of other platforms for android also doesn't interest me because I'll be avoiding anything running android like the plague. Did everyone forget that android was created as a means to stream advertisements to end users because it was created by a company that's dependent on ad revenue for survival? That means privacy isn't really a top concern, and we've seen it bite Google in the bum in a pretty enormous way very, very recently.

That engaget article wasn't very insightful because it's based on a lot of old information. Apple invested a whole bundle, more than anyone else in history, on Sapphire Crystal display technology. They're also the only company that could afford to slim down margins to employ the use of sapphire crystal. I was really hoping people wouldn't get roped in by that silly click bait.

These types of phones, the really powerful, really cheap ones, aren't interesting. They're just going to diminish the already diminished returns on android smartphone sales. They help Apple by hurting everyone but Apple.

#9 Posted by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

Intel is on track to ship 40 million tablet devices in 2014 (10 million in Q2). With Android Bay Trail tablets only appearing in the later part of Q2, it's clear Windows based devices have been having some success. Intel will also be pushing hard with many new SoCs and higher end hardware for tablets in the next 12 months.

Again, console low level API's have been used for a long time on a single set of hardware designed for gaming. We've yet to see the magic behind the optimization of these APIs. The A7 hardware (and A8 graphics hardware) can only support up to DX10 or OpenGL 3.2 features, not exactly the latest feature set that can be found on SoC's in modern Android devices.

Your personal thoughts about Android and advertising don't seem to change the end product, and Android L is a massive step forward, so save the conjecture for someone who's interested.

The information was from the supplier of Apple's sapphire displays. The pricing might differ depending on their production yields and quality, but that doesn't change the fact it does cost more. I doubt Apple would sacrifice profit margins for a sapphire display cover.

These types of phones are going up against the iPhone in the Chinese market, and they're doing extremely well. We're past the point of having to pay $700+ for flagship cellphones with massive profit margins.

#10 Edited by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

@NVIDIATI: Who are they expecting to buy 40 million tablets?? Intel will be pushing hard with many new SoCs and higher end hardware tablets for the next 12 months? You know who else thought that sort of rhetoric was effective?

Don't hesitate to go to the front of this video and enjoy the whole thing.

Will Android L support factory resets that actually erase all your data? That in itself would be revolutionary. Or necessary. That has nothing to do with personal feelings and everything to do with mature, safe and secure software (which Google hasn't mastered yet).

We'll find out what Apple does about their displays in September. If it's sapphire that's cool, it not, it's because sapphire isn't ready for prime time or they're going to keep using it for TouchID and the camera lens. We'll see. EDIT: Was that information released before or after Apple invested in gobs of new foundries for GT? Timing is just as important as source.

These phones are going up against Apple in the Chinese market, but they aren't hurting Apple. They're hurting everyone Apple competes with. Anyone can release a basic android phone with nice specs. Nobody can truly replicate what Apple has. Though they will try, and experience some outrageous (albeit temporary) success.

#11 Edited by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

@musicalmac

They're expecting people to buy their tablets. I don't know what sort of answer you're looking for.

The mention of Intel's roadmap holds true now, just as it did previously. In the past I discussed Bay Trail as an upcoming SoC. Since then, Bay Trail has released and lived up to expectations. Intel has been making a large push into the mobile industry, deals with Rockchip to handle the low end (SoFiA 3G and LTE), creating leading edge modems for mobile devices (XMM 72xx), bringing flagship cores to mobile devices (Broadwell-Y), and they're working towards advancing their fab production to remain an industry leader (14 nm FinFet). Posting videos about Ballmer or brushing it off as "rhetoric" doesn't change this. Like Bay Trail, these technologies will come to market and offer us as consumers an improved mobile experience.

There is no confirmation that Android L will offer that by default, but encryption is available. There are steps and/or software that can be utilized by a user to clear data.

To my knowledge, the information was provided ahead of the Apple deal. However, the increased cost for pure sapphire is a reality, and if the recent video of leaked Apple parts is to be believed, then Apple is not using a pure sapphire cover, so the cost might be negligible after-all.

Why do they have to replicate Apple to compete? Despite the obvious influence iOS had on Android during the initial years, Android has been offering features that Apple is only now starting to utilize. Android can be a unique OS on unique devices that are different from an iPhone with iOS. Users can choose between the pros and cons of each system and decide what suites their needs/wants.

#12 Edited by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

Another leak shows us the back of this unreleased Xiaomi device:

#13 Posted by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

@NVIDIATI: To address that question, "Why do they have to replicate Apple to compete?" -- it's an easy answer. Because Apple is the one making all the money. Samsung did a find job replicating Apple and took over the entire android mobile market. MS is following Apple's lead with their strategy and so is Google. They're bullying their hardware partners and it's creating rifts (more on this later).

#14 Edited by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

@musicalmac While some of their devices copy Apple (or other manufacturer's) styling, Xiaomi's method of low profit hardware has allowed them to compete and grow. This is different from Apple, Samsung, and many other OEMs.

#15 Edited by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

Xiaomi's event has finished and the Mi 4 was revealed... But it's not the same device in the leaks shown above.

The Mi 4 brings good news and bad news.

Starting with the bad news, the device is only using a Snapdragon 801 and at launch will only offer support for TD-LTE (FDD-LTE is only coming later in the year), so buyers outside of China would be better off waiting for Google's next Nexus device. This is more of an Mi 3S than an Mi 4.

As for the good news, the device costs RMB 1999 ($320 USD) for the 16GB model and the iPhone 5S 16GB costs RMB 5288 ($850 USD) in China. So the Chinese market finally has a low cost well spec'd LTE capable device.

The Mi 4 will be running MIUI v6 which is based off of Android 4.4.4. The device has a stainless steel frame with multiple back cover styles (similar to the Moto X or OnePlus One). The device also has an IR blaster built-in allowing it to be used as a universal remote. There is also a 64 GB model that will sell for RMB 2499 ($400 USD). Xiaomi will be offering a RMB 99 ($16 USD) annual insurance that covers accidental damage to the device.

Xiaomi also took the time to launch a RMB 69 ($13 USD) fitness band.

Overall we're still left wondering what the mystery phone leaked above actually is, and when a successor to the RedMi and RedMi Note will be announced.

#16 Edited by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

@NVIDIATI said:

@musicalmac While some of their devices copy Apple (or other manufacturer's) styling, Xiaomi's method of low profit hardware has allowed them to compete and grow. This is different from Apple, Samsung, and many other OEMs.

Oh no, when it comes to flattering behavior, Xiamoi is a straight up Chinese Samsung (without the well-known spectacular levels of corporate corruption).

Pathetic, right down to the blue pants and black shirt. Why innovate when you can copy? How is it that people are happy to encourage such pitiful behavior or to support it with their own dollars and cents?

Again, these companies do more to hurt Apple's competition than they do to hurt Apple. iPhone sales in China are up 48%.

#17 Posted by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

@musicalmac

Apple's marketing style is a proven system, that's a big part of selling a product, especially in the Chinese market where brand power is huge. The end result for Xiaomi is the perception of a lifestyle brand (like Apple) and very competitive premium devices. If they hope to expand to NA in 2015, I doubt these practices will follow them over seas, otherwise Apple will have some fun with them in court.

#18 Edited by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

@NVIDIATI: You are actually going to dispute how clearly Xiaomi carbon copies Apple's stuff? You're going to chalk it up to a marketing style? For crying out loud, it's outrageous.

#19 Posted by NVIDIATI (7634 posts) -

@musicalmac Clearly you skipped my previous post (#14).

"While some of their devices copy Apple (or other manufacturer's) styling,"

#20 Posted by musicalmac (22896 posts) -

@NVIDIATI said:

@musicalmac Clearly you skipped my previous post (#14).

"While some of their devices copy Apple (or other manufacturer's) styling,"

I can't get excited about a company that just turns on its copy machine.

#22 Edited by musicalmac (22896 posts) -